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The News in Brief

Thursday, November 12
Penitentiary Institution employee detained over bribery

Gocha Nozadze, warden of Penitentiary Institution #15, has been detained in relation to bribery charges by the Anti Corruption agency and Corrections Ministry representatives.

As it has been investigated, Gocha Nozadze promised a citizen to bring a mobile phone sim-card to the prison, and demanded 7 000 GEL in return.

As reported, he accepted the bribe.

An investigation is underway under the first part of the Criminal Code article #338. (IPN)

Military reform bill approved by judiciary committee

A draft bill concerning the end of compulsory military service has survived a debate in the judiciary committee of the Georgian parliament.

The bill was approved by the committee on Tuesday.

Member of Parliament Zurab Japaridze, who co-authored the bill, said he believes the system needs to be changed, as some young men are forced to go to the military against their will.

“In fact, this system doesn’t have anything to do with the defensive ability of the country,” he said on Tuesday, adding that 6,436 young men were recruited this year, but only 25 percent of them do any significant military service. The rest work in ministries or other places, mostly as security guards.

Japaridze is one of several Members of Parliament who used to be member of the former ruling party the National Movement but formed a new political union called Girchi (Cone).

He clarified that the vast majority of youth use different ways to escape military service or serve as a guard instead of being in the army.

If approved, the bill will come into force on January 1, 2016, from which time young men will no longer be forced to go into military service.

The judiciary committee suggested introducing professional military service in stages.

A few days ago, Defence Minister Tina Khidasheli, who is also in favour of switching to a fully professional army, said that the system needs to be changed. Even if compulsory service is kept the system needs to be changed to fit the interests of the state, she said. (DF watch)

Georgian troops participate in NATO drill in Lithuania

The Georgian Armed Forces (GAF) are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of other servicemen and women in a NATO exercise in Lithuania.

For the next 10 days, the Georgian soldiers will practice interoperability with their foreign counterparts in the 2015 Iron Sword exercise involving 2,000 troops from nine NATO member states. Georgia is the only non-member country to participate in the exercises.

The drills opened today at the Lithuanian Armed Forces range in Pabrade, located 50km northeast of Vilnius.

The 2015 Iron Sword exercise, featuring various all-terrain vehicles and other military equipment, will give soldiers the chance to practice "interaction, coordination of actions and readiness to carry out defensive and offensive operations of combined units,” said Lithuania’s Defence Ministry.

This year’s exercise followed the 2014 edition of the drill, which saw the initial smaller-scale national event transform into a fully-fledged NATO war game aimed at "strengthening security in Eastern Europe” in light of the conflict in Ukraine and threats to regional stability.

Georgian troops have already taken part in military exercises in the Baltic this year. The troops were involved in the BALTOPS naval drills from June 5-19.

The 2015 Iron Sword exercise will run until November 20. (

PM Speaks of Need to Increase Women’s Political Participation

Addressing an international conference on gender equality in Tbilisi on Tuesday, Georgian PM Irakli Garibashvili expressed hope that “efforts” undertaken by his government to increase women’s political participation will translate into concrete results when Georgia elects new parliament next year.

He did not elaborate, but in September the parliamentary committee for human rights gave a go-ahead to a formal initiation of a bill, which, if approved, would set mandatory quotas for women to help increase the number of female members in the legislative body.

“We have undertaken important steps for increasing women’s representation in politics and I hope that these efforts will be reflected in next year’s parliamentary elections,” Garibashvili told the international high-level conference Achieving Gender Equality–Challenges and Opportunities in the European Neighbourhood Policy Region.

The EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, who is visiting Tbilisi after trip to Ukraine, has also addressed the conference.

Speaking at a reception held in the Presidential Palace for the conference participants on on November 9, President Giorgi Margvelashvili, who has previously voiced his support for quota system, reiterated that there is a need “for stable system that would guarantee a real gender balance”. In this context, President Margvelashvili, who declared 2015 the Year of Women, mentioned legislative proposal on quota system that is submitted to the Parliament.

There are two proposals for consideration before the Georgian Parliament – the one, which was submitted by a group of civil society organizations, offers introduction of “zipper” system, where male and female candidates would appear alternately on party lists of MP candidates for the next year’s parliamentary elections, and another one, sponsored by two GD ruling coalition lawmakers, according to which political parties must place a woman in every third position on their list of MP candidates.

The first one, if approved, will result in increasing the share of female legislators in the next parliament from the current 11.3% to at least 25%.

The second one, which was formally registered as a bill on November 9 and which has more chances of being endorsed than the first one, will result in increasing share of female MPs to at least 16.6%.

Currently there are 17 female lawmakers in 150-seat Parliament; the number will increase to 18 after a winner of MP by-election in Sagarejo joins the legislative body.

77 seats in the Parliament are allocated based on proportional, party-list system and remaining 73 seats are distributed to majoritarian MPs from single-mandate constituencies.

A draft of declaration, which the participants of the Tbilisi conference on gender equality plan to adopt, “acknowledges the need to take further concrete action to ensure that women are increasingly represented and take part in political and economic lives… among others by application of temporary special measures, including mandatory quotas.” (